Thursday, April 03, 2008

Narcissus, Party Of One? ...

My first blog post was written on March 13, 2005.

By Blogger's count, this is post 1,075. But a few of those are unpublished drafts. So let's call it 1,070 over the past 3+ years.

That's a whole lotta posting.

And some of it is about me, but much of it is not. Most of it is not.

Blogging can be a very narcissistic pursuit, a digital billboard in cyberspace that continually flashes, "Look at me!"

Three years ago, I hung my virtual shingle. And three years hence, I'm still reluctant to really talk about myself.

Not because I don't want to reveal details. I'm sure that blogs are so successful because we're all looking for those connections to other people, to find what's common among us, to take comfort in the fact that we're not nearly so alone in our neuroses and fears. Everyone suffers something.

But a big part of my life has been lived in fear. Fear of what others think. Some of it is founded – having someone you love say, with disdain, "It's always all about you, Beth," will go a long way toward shutting down any and all future impulses to share – but some of it is not. A lot of it is self-imagined. I tend to contemplate every situation from every angle and run all the outcomes before I act.

Which doesn't leave a lot of time for the actual acting.

Years and years ago, as I sat stymied, trying to figure out my life instead of simply living it, my mother said, in exasperation, "Just do something." And she was absolutely right. (Funny thing, how often parents are proved to know what they're talking about.) The answers come in the action. Decisions are decided by doing.

Sitting stock still, waiting for epiphanies, is not an efficient use of time.

And anyway, what if epiphanies aren't the burning bushes that we expect them to be? What if epiphanies are jigsaw puzzles that must be pieced? What if every piece is a step in the right direction? The puzzle becomes more and more complete, but it's not finished until the last piece is placed.

Well, there's a metaphor for my life. One piece at a time is the only way to put together my life's picture. But I have to start somewhere. Otherwise my life is just tiny pieces scattered across a giant cosmic table.

So maybe my life so far has been me starting with the easy pieces, all the edges, the ones that are easy to spot, building the framework. And from here, I begin working toward the center, picking up a piece, turning it this way and that, sometimes seeing where it fits but more often seeing where it doesn't, and picking up another piece and trying again. Setting down the first piece isn't a failure. It's just not the right fit at the time.

Somehow, I got this idea stuck in my head that I've failed if every single thing I attempt doesn't pan out from start to finish every time. But how many half-knit socks exist? How many starts of songs? Every beginning doesn't have to have an ending. At least not right away.

And maybe not at all.

But every effort counts.


Blogger Tina said...

Oooo...well said. Descriptive of all lives, if living toward growth and betterment.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

Wow, Beth, you have me beat on blog posts. I just hit my 900th post tonight. And my blog has been around since June 2004.

Anyway, I think there are those epiphanies that are like burning bushes or sudden flashes of light or whatever analogy one wants to make, but I think you may be onto something. I think most epiphanies are jigsaw puzzles that you just have to sort out. Anyway, the way I look at it, it is better to start something and not finish it than simply not start something at all!

12:45 AM  
Blogger ~Storm~ said...

Hi Beth! Loved your blog and still loving it! Found your blog sometime ago when I searched about "Experiences with studying Medicine". Then I got here. Keep writing! :]

10:46 PM  

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